During our recent unprecedented times, I have been approached more and more by college students who have either recently graduated or are about to graduate and head off into a tenuous, fragile and increasingly competitive job market.

The two questions I get the most often from college students is:
“How do I prepare an effective resume with no practical on-the-job experience”?
“How do I apply”?

The good news for college graduates and students about to graduate is that there are a few easy steps to take to improve your resume and LinkedIn profiles that will provide better visibility and engagement with prospective hiring managers and recruiters when you apply:

1) Elevate Your Courseware or Projects from Your Major
-Make sure to align any courses or projects that you’ve excelled in along the top portion
of your resume that may match the job’s requirements.

For example, if you’re a Business major and want to pursue jobs in that area, call out work that you have done in your Summary, Overview or Core Skills section in Accounting or Business Analysis or Strategy or Finance, whatever is directly relevant to the role you are pursuing.

2) Reposition your Education towards to lower part of the Resume
-As a recruiter and former hiring manager who has been fortunate to work with top companies and talent, I have yet to hear a company say to me when taking on a job search “I need a candidate that went to Providence College or Florida A & M or Bora
Bora University”.

They always request that I locate candidates that bring a strong blend of practical, functional or academic experience with a great, collaborative and agile attitude.

Not to undermine anybody’s educational endeavors on any level because it is a tremendous achievement and does have relevance, but first and foremost I and my clients need to know about you and what you bring to the table, not just where you went to school.

When I have 3 seconds to read a resume, tell me who you are, what you do, what industries or functions you have deep interest in, how you collaborate, how you communicate, how you manage your time and projects and how you inspire teams and colleagues.
Once you reposition your resume to strengthen your overall profile and functional areas of expertise, there are a few other steps to consider as you apply to companies.

3) When Applying for Jobs, Don’t “Spray and Pray”
-There’s a reason why many companies and recruiters don’t respond to applications.

Simply put, they simply get bombarded by thousands of applicants who don’t take the time to read the job description and just hit “Easy Apply” over and over and over.

In my personal experience, roughly 80% of the applications and resumes I receive are not relevant to the specific requirements of that posted job.

That is because people “spray and pray” by constantly beating up the Easy Apply button.

I once had a Dog Walker apply for a Chief Financial Officer job. Seriously.

Not that there’s anything wrong with walking the dog. I love dogs and enjoying walking the dog.
In this case, don’t be the Dog Walker.

  • Read the job description.
  • Be targeted.
  • Be succinct.
  • Be direct.

4) Show That You Want It!
More times than I care to admit, I interview candidates who apply for my jobs that present themselves as disengaged, lethargic and distracted.

You know what they say about “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

During your interviews and discussions with prospective employers, make sure to express good energy, positivity and engagement, research the company and opportunity, ask relevant questions to show that you’re really interested in the role.
These are important Core Skills that every employer wants.

You’re not making an appointment for a root canal or choosing a block of cheddar cheese out of your local dairy case. You’re making a life altering decision to choose a career path that you prepared for. Treat your career search with that extra care and gravity that it requires. Congratulations on your achievements, best of luck with your pursuits.
Stay safe, stay well and happy hunting!